You go to bed teary eyed and you wake up wondering how all those people are doing today. “Those people” feel like your friends and relatives, you feel like you've known them for a long time and you really hope things have worked out well for them. Keep in mind, you've never actually met them. You've simply been exposed to their most vulnerable moments thanks to Cheryl Strayed and her book, Tiny Beautiful Things.
Let me back up a bit. People write in to Cheryl Strayed (aka Sugar) and ask her their most intimate questions like, “How do I become a writer without living in angst and how can I live a beautiful life when my finances are weighing me down?” And Sugar doesn't hold back. She lectures and listens and kicks asses and gives hugs in her answers. Seriously… I've never read anything like it. How does someone sound so alive in a response to someone they've never met? That is exactly what Tiny Beautiful Things is, a book of questions from people bearing their souls, and responses from someone you wish you could have by your side every single day.
Although I went to bed teary eyed and woke up slightly afraid of how these soul bearers were doing in the world, I don't think Tiny Beautiful Things was written to make us cry. I think people were just asking someone their toughest questions and a loving response to our deepest questions happens to bear a book that makes us think about the beauty of being human. As I read this book, I grew from judgmental to super empathetic because I saw my own flaws, insecurities and past experiences in their questions. And I saw a more loving version of myself in Cheryl’s responses. Bottom line, we each have our own struggles and we handle them as best we can with the information we have.. and sometimes our information is clouded by the heavy emotions that surround that particular problem. And because we all do this, none of our issues are that different. It becomes obvious that we are really one and the same.
If you are reading this, it's more than likely that you want to succeed on your own terms and make an impact in the world, and the truth is that most people want success but not everyone goes for it. While the desire for success is beautiful and noble and healthy and scary, maybe the most important thing we need to learn to become a doer instead of a dreamer is that the biggest contribution we can make to the world is to be kinder to ourselves. And you do this by never letting the anxiety eat you up while letting your goal be much bigger than yourself and by consistently giving it everything you've got.
In short, Tiny Beautiful Things makes me cry like a baby at how small we all are and how impactful we all can be. It is not about what happens next, it is about what happens inside.
Fun Fact: Tiny Beautiful Things is based on the advice column, Dear Sugar.